Consciousness has been at the center of my life for almost 50 years, as it has been for so many of us. But, I am a practical sort of guy and so am not very interested in the conceptual “consciousness.” On the contrary, the consciousness that I am interested in is the “being consciousness.” There are many neo-advaita teachers around who tell us that we are always consciousness. And, since we are always awareness, consciousness, there is nothing to be done. Osho is much more compassionate. He too tells us that we are already Buddhas but he also reminds us that the difference between us and him is that he is aware of his Buddhahood. He is experiencing his Buddhahood and we are unawake to its splendor.
In his compassion, he introduced 112 meditation techniques. He created active meditations to prepare the ground for meditation to take root and, he distilled all meditation techniques down to the key element of witnessing.
For me personally, I have found that the best way to become aware—to awaken the witness—is to begin by being aware of my unconsciousness, my unawareness, my dreaming mind.
Most every morning I wake up around 3:30 a.m., meaning at around that time I become aware that I am no longer sleeping. Immediately I begin to look at the activity of the mind, the tail end of the dreaming cycle. I find that it is this seeing the unconscious that enables becoming more conscious or we could say less unconscious.
As I continue lying in the bed, looking directly at the tail of the dream, this awakeningness becomes more pronounced. I find this to be the best time to get up and sit in meditation.
This sitting in meditation is more of the same but now I am sitting erect and perhaps more attuned to the watching.
At first while I am watching I catch thought streams, some thought about this or that, but as I watch without grasping the thought and without rejecting the thought but just looking directly at the movement of thought, it becomes less defined, more opaque.
At this point, it is the energy of the mind that is being seen rather than individual thoughts. At the same time, I am now aware of the watching itself rather than that which is being seen. With my awareness of the watchingness, the previous objects of consciousness begin to slip out of view.
This is not a permanent situation. At some point some thought appears and either I am dragged off until I remember again or I am awake enough to catch it at the beginning and again without grasping or rejecting there is the remembrance of watching and the watched subsides.
I find that the unconscious stream is in an inverse relationship to how conscious I am in that moment. The more conscious, the less of the stream. The less conscious, the more present the stream. So, it is by seeing my unconscious that I become more conscious.
My understanding of Ramana Maharshi’s method of inquiry is a thought appears, one inquires to whom does the thought appear and the answer is to me. Then one inquires more deeply “Who am I?” I see that as another way of saying what I described above.
Osho’s is even simpler, it is watching, witnessing. Watching without judgement, without jumping onto the back of the thought and without pushing away in rejection. Just watching and as we watch without reaction the other steps that I described above happen naturally. As thought becomes less, I automatically become aware of my self, provided that I haven’t fallen asleep.
“Meditation starts by being separate from the mind, by being a witness. That is the only way of separating yourself from anything. If you are looking at the light, naturally one thing is certain, you are not the light, you are the one who is looking at it. If you are watching the flowers, one thing is certain, you are not the flower, you are the watcher. Watching is the key of meditation:
Watch your mind.
Don’t do anything—no repetition of mantra, no repetition of the name of God—just watch whatever the mind is doing. Don’t disturb it, don’t prevent it, don’t repress it; don’t do anything at all on your part. You just be a watcher, and the miracle of watching is meditation. As you watch, slowly, slowly mind becomes empty of thoughts; but you are not falling asleep, you are becoming more alert, more aware.
As the mind becomes completely empty, your whole energy becomes a flame of awakening. This flame is the result of meditation. So you can say meditation is another name of watching, witnessing, observing—without any judgment, without any evaluation. Just by watching, you immediately get out of the mind.”
-Osho, from The Invitation, Discourse 21
So, this has been my experience. By understanding and seeing my un-consciousness, un-consciousness is transformed into consciousness, from unconsciousness to consciousness. This is how I come out of mind. This is not enlightenment; it is an awakening before enlightenment. It is nothing special and we are all capable of coming out of mind. It is just a question of seeing the identification with what we are Not that we discover that which we Are.
Along the way, a couple of points have become clear and perhaps they could be helpful for someone else.
Number one and this is of course obvious but nevertheless important to state. In order for the transformation of consciousness to take place, we have to look directly at the mind. It is not enough to know about meditation, we have to meditate. We have to get to know intimately how we perpetuate unawareness. We have to meditate, did I already say that. We have to meditate.
A second point that one day became clear is, we are not to do anything with the mind, or any content of consciousness. Transformation happens but not by anything we do. Our job is to become conscious and again we do that by watching our unconscious. It is through watching the unconscious that the energy becomes conscious. I used to feel that it was the content that was important in the watching. Somewhere along the way a shift happened so that it is the watcher that is of importance not what is being watched. We watch our unconsciousness simply to become conscious.
And thirdly, it is by watching without reacting that we begin to become aware of being conscious, of awareness itself, not as an object but as a living, existential, experiencing.
Finally, these awakenings, this watchfulness that arises in meditation, has to be taken into daily life. With this watchingness, there are more moments of action and fewer of reaction, but when reaction appears, it is watched without judgment just like the watching of thought. And, it is here in this daily life that the watchingness is crystalized into Being conscious. And that truly is a splendor.
How did I get so lucky to fall in the grace of your love in these times of such confusion in the world?
Prem Debal, the times of confusion and chaos are the greatest times to live in. When the society is static there is not much to live for, to live with. When a society is secure and there is no confusion and there is no chaos, then people live a dull, drab, dragging life – comfortable, convenient, stable, but not alive.
It is only in the times of chaos and confusion that great things happen, because people are loose. They are loose, uprooted: they can search for new soils, they can search for new lands, they can search for new countries, they can search for new continents of being.
This is one of the greatest moments in the history of human consciousness. It has never been so; this is a crescendo.
Buddha said – and he seems to have detected it richly – that after each twenty-five centuries there comes a moment of great turmoil and chaos. And that is the time when the greatest number of people become enlightened.
Now twenty-five centuries have passed since Buddha. Again you are coming closer and closer to a moment where the past will lose all meaning. When the past loses ll meaning, you are free, you are untethered from the past: you can use this freedom to grow tremendously, to grow to undreamed-of heights.
But you can destroy yourself too. If you are not intelligent, the confusion, the chaos, will destroy you.
Millions will be destroyed – because of their unintelligence, not because of the chaos. They will be destroyed because they will not be able to find a secure and comfortable and convenient life, as was possible in the past. They will not be able to find where they belong. They will have to live from their own sources; they will have to be individuals, they will have to be rebels.
The society is disappearing, the family is disappearing; now it is very difficult. Unless you are capable of being an individual it is going to be difficult to live. Only individuals will survive.
Now people who have become too accustomed to slavery, accustomed to being commanded, accustomed to being ordered by somebody else – people who have become too much accustomed to father-figures – they will be in a state of insanity. But that is their fault, it is not the fault of the times. The times are beautiful, because the times of chaos are the times of revolution. It is possible now to get out of the wheel of life and death more easily than it has been possible for twenty-five centuries since Buddha. In Buddha’s time, many people became enlightened; the society was in a turmoil. Again it is happening. Great times are ahead – prepare for them.
And that’s what I am trying to do here. Orthodox people cannot understand what is happening here; they have no eyes to see it and no heart to feel it. They only have old rotten values, and they go on judging me according to those values. Those values are out of date. I am creating new people, I am creating new values, I am creating a new future. They live in the past; they cannot understand the future that I am trying to bring here to the earth.
My sannyasins don’t belong to the past, they don’t represent any tradition. They belong to the future: they belong to something that is going to happen and has not yet happened. Hence there are no criteria – they cannot be judged easily, and they will be misunderstood.
I am going to be misunderstood, because people have their values, and those values come from the past. And I am trying to create a space for the future to happen.
You say: How did I get so lucky to fall in the grace of your love in these times of such confusion in the world?
It is not a question of luck, it is a question of intelligence. That is the only luck in the world – intelligence. And remember, everybody is born with intelligence but people don’t use it, because to be intelligent is to live in danger.
The intelligent child will be a constant pain in the neck for the parents; they try to crush his intelligence. Nobody wants an intelligent child, because he creates suspicions in you, he creates doubts in you. An intelligent child asks questions you cannot answer. An intelligent child is a problem for the teachers in the school, in the college, in the university.
An intelligent person will always remain a problem, wherever he is. So the society tries in every way to destroy your intelligence.
I have heard:
The teacher told the students that they were going to play a game. “I’ve got something behind my back and I’m going to describe it and you guess what it is,” she said.
“I’m holding something round and red. Can someone guess?”
“An apple?” little Herbie said.
“No,” said the teacher, ”but it shows you were thinking. It’s a cherry. Now I’m holding something round and orange. Can you tell me what it is?”
“An orange?” little Herbie said.
“No,” said the teacher, ” but it shows you were thinking. It’s a peach.”
Herbie raised his hand. “Teacher, can I play the game too?”
The teacher said, yes, and Herbie went to the back of the room, faced the rear and said, “Teacher, I’m holding something about two inches long with a red tip.”
The teacher said, “Herbie!”
“No,” said little Herbie, “but it shows you were thinking. It’s a match.”
Now, these intelligent children cannot be allowed to live! Nobody likes an intelligent person.
Hence people start playing unintelligent roles in life, because an unintelligent person is accepted everywhere. That’s why millions of people have become mediocre. Nobody is born mediocre, let me remind you. God gives intelligence to everybody; just as he gives life to everybody, he gives intelligence. Intelligence is an intrinsic part of life.
Have you ever seen an unintelligent animal? Have you ever seen an unintelligent bird, an unintelligent tree? Every tree is intelligent enough to find the source of water to send out roots.
And you will be surprised; scientists are very much surprised, at how trees find places.
When a tree starts sending out its roots, sometimes it sends them hundreds of feet away in a particular direction to where water is. Now, how does it find it? The water is a hundred feet away towards the north: it does not send its roots towards the south, it sends its roots towards the north – a hundred feet away! And not only to natural water sources – sometimes it sends its roots to the pipes, corporation pipes, hundreds of feet away; it detects them. It takes years for it to send out those roots. It lives, in its own way, an intelligent life.
If there is too much competition, trees grow higher; they have to. That’s why in the jungles of Africa, trees grow very high. The same trees in India won’t grow that high; there is no need, the competition is not so much. In thick forests if the tree remains small it will die; it will be in the shadow of other trees. It has to reach the sun: it goes on and on moving upwards.
Trees are intelligent in their own way, birds are intelligent in their own way, animals are intelligent in their own way. And so is man.
You will find the mediocre and the stupid only in human beings. I have never come across a stupid dog – I have tried – but there are millions of stupid human beings. What has happened to human beings? Intelligence is not allowed.
The whole society and the pattern of the society is against intelligence; it supports mediocre people.
Everybody is happy with a mediocre person, because whenever you are around a mediocre person he is never a problem; he is always ready to be obedient, and he always gives you a feeling that you are superior.
If people live intelligently, everybody will be lucky. If you are not lucky, it is not that God has been unfair to you; it is only because you have compromised with the society.
Debal, you could come to me because you have been courageous enough to use your intelligence.
It is not a question of luck; it is only a question of guts, courage. And these days are really beautiful, fantastic. Use these days, these times: you can soar high, higher than has ever been possible before.
Millions of people are in the situation now where enlightenment can happen. We can defeat Buddha for the first time. The times are very favorable, because there is so much chaos and so much confusion, and all the old ideologies are dead and dying of their own accord. Man is becoming free, coming out of his shell.
From Unio Mystica, V.2, Chapter Two
Copyright© OSHO International Foundation
What does sakshi mean? Sakshi means the seer, the witness. Who is this who is experiencing that “I am not the body?” Who is this who is experiencing that “I am not the mind?” Who is this who goes on denying that “I am not this, I am not this?” There is an element of seeing, of watching, of the watcher within us which sees, which observes everything.
This seer is the sakshi, the witness. What is seen is the world. The one who is seeing is who I am, and what is being seen is the world. Adhyas, the illusion, means that the one who is seeing misunderstands himself to be all that is seen. This is the illusion.
There is a diamond in my hand: I am seeing it. If I start saying that I am the diamond, that is an illusion. This illusion has to be broken and one has to come, finally, to that pure element which is always the seer and is never the seen. This is a little difficult. The one who is the seer can never be seen, because by whom will it be seen? You can see everything in the world except yourself. How will you see yourself? – Because two will be needed for seeing, one who sees and the other who is seen. We can grab everything with a pair of tongs except the tongs themselves. That effort will fail. We may find it puzzling that when the tongs grab everything, why can they not grab themselves?
We see everything, but we are not able to see ourselves. And we will never be able to. Whatsoever you can see, know well that that is not you. Thus take one thing to be certain, that whatsoever you are able to see is not you. If you are able to see God, then one thing has become certain, that you are not God. If you have seen light within you, one thing is conclusive, that you are not light. If you have an experience of bliss within you, one thing is determined, that you are not bliss. Whatsoever has been experienced, you are not that. You are that which experiences.
So whatsoever becomes your experience, you are beyond it. Therefore it will be useful to understand one difficult point here, that spirituality is not an experience. Everything in the world is an experience, but not spirituality. Spirituality is reaching towards that which experiences all, but which itself never becomes an experience. It always remains the experiencer, the witness, the seer.
I see you: you are on one side; I am on the other side. You are there, the one who is being seen; I am here, the one who is seeing. These are two entities.
There is no way of dividing oneself into two so that one part sees and the other part is seen. Even if it was possible to divide, then the part that would be seeing is myself, the part that would be seen would not be myself. The matter is finished.
This is the whole process or methodology of the Upanishads: neti, neti – neither this nor that. Whatsoever can be seen, say that you are not that. Whatsoever can be experienced, say that you are not that. You can go on stepping backwards, until nothing remains that can be denied or eliminated. A moment comes when all scenes are lost. A moment comes when all experiences are dropped – all!
Remember, all! The experience of sex is of course dropped; the experiences of meditation are also dropped. The experiences of the world, of love and hate are dropped; the experiences of bliss and enlightenment are also dropped. Only the pure seer remains. Nothing is there to be seen; only emptiness remains all around, only the watcher remains and the empty sky all around. In the middle stands the seer, the watcher, who sees nothing because everything has been denied and eliminated that could be seen. Now he experiences nothing. He has removed all experiences from his way. Now he remains alone, the one who was experiencing.
When there is no experience, there is no seeing; there is nothing seen and there is no object to be seen, and the witness alone remains. It becomes very difficult to express in language what really happens because we have no other word except ‘experience’ in our language, therefore we call it ‘self-experience’ or ‘self-realization’. The word experience is not right. We say “experience of consciousness” or “experience of the Brahma, the absolute,” but none of these expressions are right, because the word experience belongs to that same world which we have eliminated. The word experience does have a meaning in the world of duality, where there was ‘the other’ too. Here it has no meaning at all. Here only the experiencer remains, the witness remains.
The search for this witness is spirituality.
From Finger Pointing to the Moon, Chapter Three
Copyright© OSHO International Foundation
Should I repeat in my mind, “I am a witness, I am a witness …”?
Witnessing is not a matter of repeating, it is a matter of being. Because I am explaining it to you, I have to say it in words: “Feel in yourself, ‘I am just a witness.’” There are two things in it … This is a very significant question. If you go on repeating in your mind “I am a witness, I am a witness,” it will work as a mantra. Then slowly, slowly, it will become something like chanting, “Rama, Rama. Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama.”
Don’t repeat in words, “I am a witness.” You have to experience, “I am a witness.” There is a difference between these two. You have to experience, “Who am I?” in relation to whatever is taking place. “What is my relationship to it?” Then you will discover the relationship of the witness. Witnessing does not mean you go on repeating the words, “I am a witness.” Otherwise it will have no more significance than a mantra. “I am a witness. My experience of this must go on deepening.”
For instance, with the sounds going on all around, what am I toward this sound? I am a witness. Even these words I am creating just in order to convey it to you. You don’t need to create any words within yourself. Just this much knowing is needed: “This is my situation.” To be a witness is “… my situation.”
When you are eating, for a moment bow down your head and look within: “What am I doing?” Then you will know: “The body is eating, I am just a witness.” This witnessing must be an experiencing. It is not a repeating of words. Repetition in words is pointless.
Because I am explaining it to you, the difficulty arises; I have to explain it through words. If I am talking to you, I have to use words. And then I am aware of the danger that somebody may sit down and start repeating every day, “I am a witness, I am a witness.” If he continues doing it, after just a couple of times it will become a dead routine. He won’t even be aware of what he is saying. He will go on repeating, “I am a witness, I am a witness.” He will look at the clock, get up after half an hour and nothing will be gained. He will remain exactly the same. On top of that, he wasted half an hour. And the stupid work he did during that half an hour – “I am a witness, I am a witness” – also disturbed his mind.
It is not a question of repeating in words – it is an experiencing. Everything which is happening around me, toward that, my attitude is of a witness.
From Falling in Love with Darkness, Chapter Nine
Copyright© OSHO International Foundation
I have heard one beautiful story. Once there was a great sculptor, a painter, a great artist. His art was so perfect that when he would make a statue of a man, it was difficult to say who was the man and who was the statue. It was so lifelike, so alive, so similar. An astrologer told him that his death is approaching; he is going to die soon. Of course, he became very much afraid and frightened, and as every man wants to avoid death, he also wanted to avoid. He thought about it, meditated, and he found a clue. He made his own statues, eleven in number, and when Death knocked on his door and the Angel of Death entered, he stood hidden among his own eleven statues. He stopped his breathing.
The Angel of Death was puzzled, could not believe his own eyes. It had never happened; it was so irregular. God has never been known to create two persons alike; he always creates the unique. He has never believed in any routine. He is not like an assembly line. He is absolutely against carbons; he creates only originals. What has happened? Twelve persons in all, absolutely alike? Now, whom to take away? Only one has to be taken away. Death, the Angel of Death, could not decide. Puzzled, worried, nervous, he went back. He asked God, “What have you done? There are twelve persons exactly alike, and I am only supposed to bring one. How should I choose?”
God laughed. He called the Angel of Death close to him, and he uttered in his ears the formula, the clue how to find the real from the unreal. He gave him a mantra and told him, “Just go, and utter it in that room where that artist is hiding himself among his own statues.”
The Angel of Death asked, “How is it going to work?”
God said, “Don’t be worried. Just go and try.”
The Angel of Death came, not yet believing how it is going to work, but when God had said, he had to do it. He came in the room, looked around, and not addressing anybody in particular, he said, “Sir, everything is perfect except one thing. You have done well, but you have missed at one point. One error is there.”
The man completely forgot that he is hiding. He jumped; he said, “What error?”
And Death laughed. And Death said, “You are caught. This is the only error: you cannot forget yourself. Come on, follow me.”
Death is of the ego. If the ego exists, death exists. The moment the ego disappears, death disappears. You are not going to die, remember; but if you think that you are, you are going to die. If you think that you are a being, then you are going to die. This false entity of the ego is going to die, but if you think of yourself in terms of nonbeing, in terms of non-ego, then there is no death – already you have become deathless. You have always been deathless; now you have recognized the fact.
The artist was caught because he could not disappear into nonbeing.
Buddha says in his Dhammapada: If you can see death, death cannot see you. If you can die before death comes, then death cannot come to you; and there is no need to make statues. That is not going to help. Deep down you have to destroy one statue, not to create eleven more. You have to destroy the image of the ego. There is no need to create more statues and more images. Religion, in a way, is destructive. In a way, it is negative. It annihilates you – annihilates you completely and utterly.
You come to me with some ideas to attain some fulfillment, and I am here to destroy you completely. You have your ideas; I have my own. You would like to be fulfilled – fulfilled in your ego – and I would like you to drop the ego, to dissolve, to disappear, because only then is there fulfillment. The ego knows only emptiness; it is always unfulfilled. By the very nature, by its very intrinsic nature, it cannot attain to fulfillment. When you are not, fulfillment is. Call it God, or give it a name Patanjali would like – samadhi – the attainment of the ultimate, but it comes when you disappear.
These sutras of Patanjali are scientific methods how to dissolve, how to die, how to commit real suicide. I call it real because if you kill your body that is unreal suicide. If you kill your self that is authentic suicide.
And that is the paradox: that if you die, you attain to eternal life. If you cling to life, you will die a thousand and one times. You will go on… you will go on being born and dying again and again and again. It is a wheel. If you cling, you move with the wheel.
Drop out of the wheel of life and death. How to drop out of it? It seems so impossible because you have never thought of yourself as a nonbeing, you have never thought of yourself as just space, pure space, with nobody there inside.
These are the sutras. Each sutra has to be understood very deeply. A sutra is a very condensed thing. A sutra is like a seed. You have to accept it deep down in your heart; your heart has to become a soil for it. Then it sprouts, and then the meaning.
I can only persuade you to be open so that the seed can fall right in place within you, so that the seed can move into the deep darkness of your non-being. In that darkness of your non-being, it will start being alive. A sutra is a seed. Intellectually, it is very easy to understand it. Existentially, to attain to its meaning is arduous. But that’s what Patanjali would like, that’s what I would like.
So don’t just be intellectuals here. Get en rapport with me, get in tune with me. Don’t just listen to me; rather, be with me. Listening is secondary; being with me is primary, basic – just to be in my company. Allow yourself to be totally here-now with me, in my presence, because that death has happened to me. It can become infectious. I have committed that suicide. If you come close to me, if you are in tune with me even for a single moment, you will have a glimpse of death.
And, Buddha is right when he says, “If you can see death, death will not be able to see you,” because the moment you see death you have transcended death. Then there is no death for you.
Excerpt from Secrets of Yoga, Chapter One (Originally published as Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, V.8).
Copyright© OSHO International Foundation
You have said that inner revolution is a sudden explosion. And then suggest we practice meditation. Isn’t this contradictory?
No, there is no contradiction between these two statements. If I say that when water evaporates it is an explosion, and that it evaporates at one hundred degrees – and also I say to someone that he should heat up the water so that it can evaporate … He can say, “You were saying that water evaporates suddenly, so why do we need to warm it up slowly, slowly? Isn’t there a contradiction between these two?” And I will say to him that there is no contradiction.
When we heat water, water warmed to one degree or ninety-nine degrees does not become vapor. Water warmed to one degree is still water and water heated to ninety-nine degrees is still water. At one hundred degrees, the water suddenly turns into steam. But while heating it up to one hundred degrees, the temperature increases gradually. That level of heat does not happen suddenly.
So when I say that water turns into vapor suddenly, I am saying that it is not that water first turns a little into vapor, and then a little more, and then a little more. The water turns into steam at one hundred degrees with a sudden explosion. The vapor replaces the water. But when I say you should heat it up, it means that the hundred-degree temperature comes slowly, slowly. I say that inner revolution is an explosion, but before the revolution, the warming up of the consciousness takes place slowly, slowly. It does not happen suddenly. Otherwise there would be no need to practice meditation. Hence, I said that when the explosion happens it happens.
But your consciousness is not at that point where the explosion can take place; the explosion has a boiling point and after reaching that point, the explosion happens. But you are not there. If you are at that point, the explosion can happen this very moment. The explosion does not take time, but it takes time to reach the point of explosion.
We plant a seed; it suddenly bursts into a sprout. But before sprouting, it remains underground: it disintegrates, it breaks, it cracks – and then it sprouts. Sprouting happens like an eruption.
A baby is born out of the mother’s womb. The birth is an explosion. It is not that the child is born a little now and then he will be born a little more a while later. Birth is not a gradual happening. The birth takes place in a moment. But before the birth, the baby is gradually growing for nine months. He is getting ready to be born, he is preparing. Then the birth will happen instantaneously. But the preparation will take nine months continuously. When birth happens, there will have been a preparation of nine months behind it. If that preparation is not there, birth cannot happen instantly. There is a gradual growth to reach the point of birth, but birth is an explosion.
Revolution is an explosion and meditation is a gradual growth. And meditation is the primary preparation for that life revolution. I am talking about that preparation; the day the preparation is complete, that very day the explosion will take place. When it happens, you will not say, “I am a little enlightened, I will be more enlightened in a while.” It will not happen like that.
The day enlightenment happens, it happens as a sudden explosion and all the doors will be broken down. But until it happens, the primary preparation for it will continue step by step.
There is no contradiction between these two.
From Falling in Love with Darkness, Chapter Nine
Copyright© OSHO International Foundation